North Coast line system

​The North Coast line is the principal regional freight and passenger line within the Queensland Rail network, running the length of coastal Queensland between Nambour in the south and Cairns in the north. The line extends over approximately 1400km excluding sections of Aurizon network between Parana and Rocklands in central Queensland and Kaili and Durroburra in north Queensland.  

The North Coast line system carries the following:

  • various freight products, including containerised and industrial freight, minerals, livestock and bulk commodities including sugar and grain
  • ​containerised freight services operate between Brisbane and major centres in central and north Queensland, including Rockhampton, Mackay, Townsville and Cairns
  • sugar traffic is hauled from sugar mills to the Ports of Mackay and Townsville
  • minerals traffic from the Mount Isa Line runs on the NCL from Stuart to the Port of Townsville
  • industrial products eg cement and fuel are hauled on the NCL from the Port of Townsville to Stuart before joining the Mount Isa Line to commence its journey to the mining centres of Cloncurry and Mount Isa
  • acid is similarly hauled on the North Coast line from the Sun Metals Refinery to Stuart, before travelling on the Mount Isa Line to the Phosphate Hill fertiliser plant
  • nickel traffic is hauled on the North Coast line from the Port of Townsville to the Queensland Nickel Refinery at Yabulu.​

Long distance passenger and high speed Tilt Train services also operate on the line servicing central and north Queensland.  
The North Coast line​ adjoins three other major rail systems, the Aurizon Blackwater System between Parana and Rocklands (in Central Queensland), the Aurizon Newlands System between Kaili and Durroburra (in north Queensland) and the Queensland Rail south-east Queensland (SEQ) system (at Nambour). 

Information pack

The North Coast line system information pack contains a general overview of the system, including climate information, a description of the railway and track, as well as infrastructure and rollingstock operational constraints.


To apply for access on the North Coast line, please see the Access page.